I'm feeling frustrated at the moment because I was just finishing a response to Mariposa's post "Sorry, but the Allowable Time Period for Mourning has Expired..." when I accidentally clicked on the X to close the tab as I was going back to it after looking up the correct titles and authors of a couple of books about grief. AAAARGH!!!
I'll share the books here:
Tear Soup by Pat Schwiebert
I Can't Stop Crying: Grief and Recovery, a Compassionate Guide by John D. Martin and Frank D. Ferris
Tear Soup is one of the best books about grief that I've read. It's a picture book, but perfect for any age, including adults. In fact, as with any book, adults will get it more than anyone. It would also be good to have those around us read it to give them some insight into what we're going through. It's a very powerful book.
I Can't Stop Crying is also excellent for those who have suffered the loss of a partner. So many books about grief are general ones and give examples of how people felt and coped after the loss of a parent, child, sibling, friend, but this one is just about what it's like to lose a partner. Don't be turned off by that word "Recovery" in the subtitle.........it's been almost a year since I read it, but I don't remember feeling that it was giving me a prescription for "getting through" or "getting over" my grief. It truly was a compassionate guide.
Regarding Mariposa's post, I've been wondering if people will be expecting me to be "over" my loss once the 1 year mark hits. It's coming. The date is March 14th. I'm tired of hearing people, even widows, say "It gets easier." I've asked, What does easier mean? What does that look like? A friend of mine says she doesn't think of it as getting easier, but softer. She said the pain will always be there, but over time the pain becomes less intense, less raw, the wound less jagged. Everything softens. That makes more sense to me than everything getting easier.
People have made comments about "the first year" and how it's the hardest. I agree it's hard, but I can't imagine Year 2 or Year 3 or Year 4, etc., being easy either. Sure, the pain might be softer, but it's still there, the memories are still there, the anniversaries and special days without him will still be there and that's just sad. And the more time that passes means the longer he's been out of my life and that's sad. He might be out of sight/out of mind for everyone around me, but he's still Number 1 in my thoughts no matter how much time passes. I don't want it any other way. I'm proud of the love we shared. I don't want to forget him or our love. And I don't want to "get over him" or "let him go".
I really feel he's still with me. I'm not a religious person, but consider myself a spiritual person and there have been so many signs that he's still there.....so many things that it just can't be coincidence. It's really cool and reassuring, I just wish he could still be in this dimension or I join him wherever he is.
It's only been in the last couple of weeks that I've been able to picture him on my own looking the way he did when he was reasonably healthy. Until then, unless I looked at a picture, I could only picture him the way he was the last 3 months of his life dying of pancreatic cancer. I'd been wanting to be able to focus on the happy times we had together and not those last 3 months that were so hard on both of us. I guess the time is right now for those 3 months to move to the end of the line of memories and let the good memories come to the forefront.
This process of grief is very individual and a very lonely road. There are lots of people around me and lots of people who care, but I usually don't even want to include them in my grief. It's hard to include them. Partly because if they haven't been through losing their partner, they just don't know what it's like; partly because it's really hard to explain to people how I'm feeling, especially when my feelings are sometimes so contradictory (ie., I don't want to be alone, but I don't necessarily want to be with other people either); and I'm afraid that as more time passes people will assign an expiry date to my grief and expect me to be "over" David or "just let him go". I pick and choose who I reveal my true feelings to.